Energy and Climate Change are two very important issues for the business sector. Companies of all shapes and sizes are working both independently and together to reach various carbon reduction goals set by themselves or by the international community (see Part 1).
Business schools are also increasingly active with more and more schools reporting on their energy and carbon reduction activities. In the next couple of parts of this series we will look at some of these schools and what they are doing.
Reducing Energy Use on Campus
In 2012, Cotsakos College of Business was named a finalist in the 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards competition, which recognizes the most innovative climate leaders in the US. The university has embarked on several energy saving initiatives. In October 2010, the university opened what was then the largest solar energy facility on any university campus in the US. The initiative is projected to save an estimated $4.3 million in energy costs over the next 15 years, while also reducing the university’s carbon footprint.In the Netherlands, Rotterdam School of Management’s ‘Campus under Construction’ project, which is being implemented until 2028, focuses on modernizing the campus to make it more energy efficient. The university administration has been collaborating closely with both the city of Rotterdam and sustainability faculty concerning city planning and environmentally sustainable considerations. In 2013 a 15‐story building for international student housing, the Erasmus Plaza; a vibrant green esplanade; pedestrian‐avenue with underground parking; and the energy-neutral Erasmus Pavilion will be completed. Ashridge Business School in the UK switched in 2011 to a 100% renewable electricity supply contract.
Measuring the Carbon Footprint
One of the main efforts on campuses around energy is measuring and reducing their carbon footprint. Winchester Business School has a commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per square meter by 30% below the 2006 levels by 2015. In 2011, the university set a target for carbon reduction of 43% by 2012. A growing number of schools are looking not just to reduce but to become carbon neutral. Pacific Lutheran University has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. In 2010 the university dropped its total energy costs by 10% by changing out light fixtures, adding motion sensors for lighting, and installing better insulation and window seals. Bentley University has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. The office of sustainability provides a website with information on Bentley’s current carbon footprint and an overview of their plans to reach this goal through energy system upgrades, green building and electronics recycling among other things. They have also constructed a 3,000 square foot solar thermal wall as part of the Athletic Center which traps heat from the sun. When the heating, ventilation and air conditioning is turned on, the air is pulled through the solar walls and is heated in the process requiring less energy to warm the air in a room.
Educating the campus about efforts
A large part of reducing energy use on campus is raising awareness of the issues with students and staff. In India, the Institute of Productivity and Management Green Initiative works to make its campus greener. They created ‘Save Energy’ guidelines which include conservation of water and electricity, which are widely distributed amongst staff and students. In Slovenia, the Faculty of Economics Eco Team encourages employees and students to get engaged by organizing and implementing a wide range of energy reduction activities. In Korea, Kyung Hee University ‘s Green Team also conducts a range of awareness raising activities and projects around Energy management and lighting efficiency across campus.
Taking part in International and National Initiatives
Another way that schools are raising awareness about these issues on campus is by participating in international energy related events. The University of Dubai takes part in Earth Hour every year on March 22nd. Students, faculty, and staff at UD signed up to participate in the world earth hour and participated by switching off the lights for one hour. Schulich School of Business also celebrate Earth Hour with their event ‘Earth Hour Every Hour’ in collaboration with IRIS, and the Ecologically Conscious Organization aims to provide environmental knowledge, and to inspire the creation of a future where waste and energy reduction are daily considerations. In France, Clean Tuesdays began as an association in 2008 to promote the development of Cleantech throughout France. On the first Tuesday of every month, an event or mini-conference is organized in a different location in France bringing together participants to share their expertise, their activities and their best practices in the field. Grenoble Ecole de Management is affiliated with this project and has hosted several Clean Tuesday events on campus.
Getting students engaged
Several schools, such as EADA in Spain, have student clubs focused on energy issues. At EADA, the Green Society is a voluntary student club for individuals who have an interest in Climate Change. Throughout the year the club organizes interactive seminars on the topics of Carbon Politics, New Sources of Energy, Creating a Low-Carbon Economy, and more. Grenoble Ecole de Management has a student engineer specialized in Quality, Security & Environmental analysis who is currently carrying out a comprehensive study of the School carbon footprint. The University of Victoria in Canada has instituted voluntary carbon-offset programs for students travelling as part of their exchange program.
– This is part of a series of blogs in 2013 focused on business schools and energy –